I Know It’s A Card, Don’t Faint!

Yeah, so I got back in to my craft room at the weekend, and I did something for a DT commitment, and then very surprisingly, I did something else for the fun of it too!  I know!!

It was just a quick little Christmas card for Mo’s current Rudolph Day Challenge, that I haven’t managed to join in with yet.  I have a number of pieces of Christmas papers in small pads that have quite large images on them that make it difficult to cut up and place on a card with lots of other elements.  So I came up with a simple of idea of using a few up.  It should have been simple, but in reality it took a lot longer than was necessary, mostly because if you don’t plan very well (and I’m sorely out of practice), you’ll be a bit stuck die cutting your card blank if you only have a Cuttlebug.

But this is the card:

And my idea was to cut a shape in the empty space, cut a matching shape in the card blank, decorate the inside and then stamp a large sentiment on the inside to show through the aperture you cut.  But what happened was this!  I cut the aperture on the paper with a Spellbinders Oval die and traced around the opening to cut the matching aperture on the card blank.  And then realised I wasn’t going to get the open card into the Cuttlebug to cut the hole.  The paper is 4.5″ by 6.5″, which is wides than the bed of my die cutting machine.  I tried packing out the card blank with paper but I still ended up with an embossed oval on the back of the blank, so I ended up cutting the opening out with a scalpal.  This wasn’t as neat as using the die, so after stamping the Stampin’ Up verse, I stuck it to the inside front of the card to cover up the rough cut-out.  And if you’re wondering about the single snowflake, I edged the inside of the opening with a red ink pen and the pen slipped!  I needed something to cover up the boo-boo!

 

I’ve got a few more sheets of paper like this with different designs on them, so if I can come up with a way of reliably cutting the aperture on the card blank I’ll be making more of these.

Card Recipe:

  • Card: Blank from Michaels ~The Paper Company
  • DP: Recollections Christmas Pack
  • Ink: Versamagic Red Magic
  • Stamp: Stampin” Up More Merry Messages
  • Embellies: Whispers Red Ink Pen ~ Kraft snowflake (Martha punch) from the snippets tin ~ Red gem from Michael’s
  • Tools: Cuttlebug ~ Spellbinders Oval Die

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Challenges:

Scrappy Mo’s Rudolph Day ~ Make A Christmas Card

Pixies Snippets Playground ~ Use Up Your Scraps (the snowflake)

Sister Act Card Challenge ~ Anything Goes

Crafty Hazel’s Patterned Paper Challenge ~ Anything Goes

Simon Says Stamp ~ Anything Goes

Stuck In Spring-ter!

The calendar tells me it’s the first week of Spring but it’s actually been colder here than the first week of Winter was back in December!  We’re feeling a bit trapped between that no-mans land between Winter and Spring, hence the “Spring-ter” in the post title if you haven’t figured it out yet.

Whilst the weather makes up its mind which way to go I thought I’d show you a few photos of the last days of Winter, a bit late as they’re from the first two weekends in March, but I’ve had strep throat and my step-father is in hospital in England after suffering a nasty fall.  No broken bones, amazingly, but he’s pretty banged up and needed stitches on his face, he’s being kept in for a few days for observation and to make sure that he’s able to get about under his own steam again.

These first few are from our skiing trip to Petoskey.  We forgot the camera on the first day, which is a shame as it was beautiful and sunny and just so pretty.  These are from the Sunday when it was grey and show showery all day, it wasn’t very cold though, not much below freezing and the snow conditions were perfect.  And as Andrew always says, it doesn’t matter how dull the day, or how many people are on the slopes, he can spot me a mile off!

 

And as you can see, on Sunday we practically had the place to ourselves.  Anyone who had come up for the weekend was leaving by Sunday lunchtime for the drive home, but as we weren’t leaving until the Monday it worked out perfectly.

And on the Monday, before leaving, we walked along the harbour in Petoskey as it was a stunning day.  Actually, let me rephrase that, we walked ON the harbour in Petoskey!  Little Traverse Bay was completely frozen over, there were tire tracks on it from trucks heading out to do some ice fishing, and snow-mobile tracks too plus lots of footprints!

Back at home a weekend later and the weather couldn’t have been more different, highs of 21C soon put paid to all of our remaining snow.

Since then we’ve been back down to -8C, mostly after the official start of Spring, but at least that’s given us plenty of indoor time to continue ripping out the bathroom, which is now a big empty space, warts and all.  And we have a lot of work ahead of us!  But more on that another time.

Teddies With Sparkles Monthly

Hello All and welcome to a new challenge at Sparkles Forum Monthly Challenges, the winner and Top 3 have been posted already and we’re starting a new challenge today, one that has been picked by my talented teamie, Helen P.  We have a cute and simple theme for you this time round, and that’s Teddy Bears!

We have two sponsors again this month, first up is Bugaboo Stamps with 7 stamps for one lucky winner:

And $10 to spend at CraftyBren’s Embroidered Embellishments:

I used a new to me Popcorn The Bear stamp called Thanks A Bunch, and I coloured him up with my Prisma pencils, adding a little bit of Crystal Stickles to the centre of the flowers.

He was simply mounted on to lilac Bazzil card from the scrapbox and popped on to a 4.75″ card front.

The sentiment is from the same set and it was stamped in Memento Rosebud ink, it has a single little pink pearl on the dot of the exclamation point.

Such a cute image, and quite large too, I decided it didn’t need anything else!  I hope you have time to join in with us this month, with all the cute images that are available you should have no trouble finding one with teddy bears on in your collection!

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Challenges:

Sister Act Card Challenge ~ Anything Goes

Pixies Snippets Playground ~ Use Up Your Scraps (the backing card)

Papertake Weekly ~ Mother’s Day

Cute Card Thursday ~ Celebrate

Stamp & Create ~ Is It Spring Yet?

Bunny Zoe’s Crafts ~ Spring Colours

Wag’s ‘n’ Whiskers ~ Ready For Spring

Allsorts Challenge ~ Flowers & Pearls (There is a single pearl on the exclamation point)

Simon Says Wednesday Challenge ~ Things That Fly (There’s a little duck peeking out from behind the leg of the bear)

Fab ‘n’ Funky ~ Focus On The Image

Randomly On My Camera

I take quite a lot of photos over the course of a week or two, most never make it on to this blog, but I thought perhaps I might show you a few once in a while.  Right now there’s a lot of photos of Winter and snow and I could fill up post after post with them but that would get old very quickly!

Trails at our local State Park.

Some Sock Love.

Fingerless Mitts – they match a cowl I made 18 months ago.

Christmas Cactus – Flowering for the second time

Back To The Park For Cross Country Skiing

Andrew had a birthday at the end of February.  Naturally there were Giraffe themed birthday cards and Giraffe themed socks!

And rather randomly taking up space in my dining room right now…

Yes, we’re getting ready for a bathroom remodel!  Looking forward to it but not looking forward to it if you know what I mean!

We’re heading up north again this weekend for more downhill skiing and our camping friends are coming with us for a break although they don’t ski.  We have a little condo booked right beside the State Park in Petoskey that we all love to go to in the Summer months and we’ve all taken Monday off too so we’re making a longer weekend of it.  I’m hoping for lots of knitting time in between bouts of vigorous exercise!

Flowers

It’s nice to do something different once in a while, I seem to stamp and colour a lot these days, so when I needed a couple of birthday cards last weekend I decided to have a play again.

I found a half a sheet of watercolour card wedged in to the pad and pulled out all my spray inks too.  After a very inky session with lots of spraying in my homemade spray booth, aka a large lidded box, I ended up with a pleasing little piece.  I’d already picked out the large Stampendous Ranunculus Field stamp to use on the finished item, I wanted something bold to go with the spray inks.

This is the first card..

After stamping the image with black Verafine ink I cut the panel down and edged it with Festive Berries Distress Ink.  It seemed to me that the centers of the flowers looked large and open, like they needed something, so I settled on some faceted glass like brads in bright colours of green, pink and blue.  The backing card is Bazzil and the image was popped up on foam tape.

 

The second card used the much more “splodgy” end of the inked panel, it looks a little more heavy handed than the first one I think.

And I wish I’d turned the panel upside down before stamping as I think it looks a little top heavy.  To offset the heaviness I added a little organza bow on the bottom right.  I also edged this panel with Festive Berries DI and used some brads on the flower centers, this time picking a clear and green small brads and a larger one in pale pink.  The mounting card is also Bazzil.

I really like the simplicity of both of these cards though, they remind me that I should do more of what I feel like instead of always reaching for my coloured pencils and a cute image!  The top one is already winging its way to England for my SIL’s birthday too, the other one is in the card box for now but I have two more women family members with birthdays coming up so I’m sure it won’t stay there for long!

Card Recipe:

  • Card: Blanks from The Paper Company ~ Canson Water Colour Card ~ Bazzil
  • Stamp: Stampendous Ranunculus Field
  • Ink: Distress Ink Festive Berries ~ Versafine Black ~ Various Spray Inks from Tattered Angels, Perfect Pearls Mists & Smooch
  • Embellies: Brads from Michaels ~ Organza Ribbon from JoAnns

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Challenges:

Allsorts ~ Use Brads (both cards)

Penny Black At Allsorts ~ Blossoms and Bows (second card)

Pixies Snippets Playground ~ Use Up Your Scraps (the watercolour card)

Sister Act Card Challenge ~ Anything Goes

Papertake Weekly ~ Anything Goes

Bunny Zoe Crafts ~ For The Girls

Stamp And Create ~ Is It Spring Yet?

Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge ~ Special Lady/Girly

Crafty Hazel’s Christmas Extra Challenge ~ March

Hello Lovlies, I’m a bit late with this post, should have been yesterday as that was the first of the month but I was running around chasing my tail, or so it seemed.

So here is my card for Crafty Hazel’s Christmas Extra for this month, as always we’re sponsored by the fantastic Bugaboo Stamps who offer the winner seven stamps of their choice.

I mentioned the other week that 2015 is the Chinese Year of the Sheep, so when I saw this image from Bugaboo I knew I was making my next card with him!  Just LOVE that startled sheepy expression on his face!

As always, I coloured with Prisma pencils and added Black Diamond Stickles to his hooves, Frosted Lace to his fleece and Crystal to his hat trim and pom pom.  He was cut out with a Spellbinders Scalloped Rectangle die.  The papers are all DCWV and the red card is from The Paper Company.  The ribbon and pearls are from Michaels, the snowflake is a Fiskars punch and the sentiment came with the image.  It was cut with a Spellbinders Deckled Rectangles Die and edged with Distress Ink in Festive Berries, as were the red and grey papers.  The LO is the current one from Sketch and Stash.

The main image was also popped up on foam tape too, which you can see better at this angle.

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Challenges:

Sketch Saturday ~ Current LO

Pixies Snippets Playground ~ Use Up Your Scraps (the red card and the red checked paper)

Sister Act Card Challenge ~ Anything Goes

Crafty Hazel’s Christmas Challenge ~ Cut It Up

Crafty Hazel’s Patterned Paper Challenge ~ Anything Goes

ABC Christmas Challenge ~ “D” For Die Cuts

Christmas Cards All Year Round ~ Cute Critters

Simon Says Wednesday Challenge ~ Anything Goes

Crafty Catz ~ Use Your Dies/Punches

Sparkles Christmas Challenge ~ Make It Green

Hello All and welcome to another challenge at Sparkles Christmas this month.  My lovely team mate Jennifer has chosen the theme of “Make It Green” for this month.  This is perfect for March as we have St Patrick’s Day and of course, for a lot of you, March is the month where it all starts to green up and look nice and Springlike.  Let’s just say it isn’t green and Springlike here in Michigan but I can dream can’t I!

We have two fantastic sponsors this time round, first up is Di’s Digis with a $10 voucher for one lucky winner:

And a new to us sponsor in the form of Deedee’s Digis who has a $25 voucher for a lucky winner.

Deedee also provided some images for the DT ladies to use if they wished and I used this adorable pre-coloured image and sentiment called Snowman Soup!  Within the download bundle you get both pre-coloured and outline images, three coloured sentiments and four b/w sentiments.  I kept my card simple this time round and only used a little piece of ribbon as an embellishment!

I lined up the image and the sentiment, leaving room for the ribbon, and printed them out.  The edges were inked in Distress Ink Mowed Lawn, ribbon added and then mounted on to green card.  The papers are both from the scrap box and are DCWV, cut on the diagonal, edged with Mowed Lawn ink and mounted on to more green card.  The scalloped blank is 4.75″ square and was bought at a UK craft fair when I was last in England!

And that’s it, super quick one from me!  I hope you have time to join in the fun this month !  Wow!  March already!!!

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Challenges:

Sister Act Card Challenge ~ Anything Goes

Crafty Hazel’s Patterned Paper Challenge ~ Anything Goes

Pixies Snippets Playground ~ Use up your scraps (everything apart from the card blank!)

Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge ~ Anything Goes

2015 ~ The Year Of The Sheep

And as a knitter, I couldn’t let the start of the the Chinese New Year go unmarked, especially when 2015 is the Year of the Sheep.

This coincided with a beautiful article last week on the BBC Website about a new exhibition that opened last weekend at the Rheged Centre in Penrith in the English Lake District.   Titled Herdwick: A Portrait of Lakeland by renowned photographer Ian Lawson who spent five years documenting the sheep, the shepherds and the landscape, and the results are captured in his stunning photographs and book upon which the exhibition is based. You can see more of his photos from this project here, there is a “Look Inside” link which you really must click to see more of the intense beauty of this part of England, Andrew and I’s most favourite, and most missed, part of the world.

The Herdwick breed is native to the Fells of The Lakes and while it’s lambing capacity is low and the wool is much rougher than commercial breeds (like Merino), the Herdwick is prized for it’s robust health, the ability to survive by just foraging and it’s tendency not to stray.   The wool is of a thicker, courser quality and is really good for heavyweight outer garments and for things like rugs, it’s not something to be worn next to the skin, unless you’re a sheep of course, as they’ve been known to survive up to three days in a blizzard completely buried in snow, by eating their own wool.

It’s thought that as much as 99% of the world’s Herdwick’s live in the rugged West and North of The Lakes, and they have now achieved protected status.  They’re not exactly rare, as anyone who has ever walked the hills of this beautiful area of England will tell you, but because their population is all but concentrated in one area they could be decimated by an outbreak of a disease, like the foot and mouth epidemic of a few years ago, which led to the farmers loosing 25% of the 100,000 breed.

This shepherd is walking his flock towards Wast Water in front of him.  Behind him is the imposing bulk of Great Gable, part of the Scafell range which is the highest mountain in England.  We didn’t do too much fell walking in The Western Lakes but Andrew and I have climbed both Great and Green Gable before, Andrew more than once.

Arguably, the most famous of the Herdwick farmers was Beatrix Potter.  Better known for her beautifully illustrated children’s books, she spent a great deal of her life in this area of England, the latter part as a farmer with fifteen farms, and a breeder and protector of Herdwick sheep.  She won numerous prizes at country shows between 1930 and 1938, and upon her death in 1943 left all fifteen of her farms to The National Trust, and per her instructions, all of them continue to graze Herdwick’s today.

So in this, the Year of the Sheep, I encourage you to get your needles out and knit something, or if you’ve never knit before perhaps now is the time to consider taking up the hobby?  But if that’s too much for you to take on right now, you can always show your support of this terrific breed by supporting The Herdy online and physical shops.  I’m particularly fond of the Peep Mug and will be making room in my suitcase for at least one later in the year!  Click on the logo to be taken to their website.

N.B. – Photos copyright Ian Lawson ~ Herdy Logo TM The Herdy Company

Just Chillin’

Cross country skiing in Mayberry Park on Saturday, waiting for Andrew who decided to add an extra loop, whereas I knew how I’d be feeling the next day if I added even one extra foot to my normal circuit!

Perching my derriere on a picnic bench in the sunshine.

The temperature we woke up to on Sunday morning…

Ice on the inside of the bathroom windows on Sunday morning.  We had ice on practically all of the windows, it was a bit of an overwhelming kind of cold…

The forecast for Sunday and also for Monday…

But my feet are toasty warm in my new furry slipper booties….

The only problem is, Andrew now wants a pair too!

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